Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Where to start about this piece. For starters I finally got over my horrific creative block.This calf's mother had died and he had to be bottle-fed to that point. Buster is docile; he will drink milk and eat feed from a bucket if you brush him. He lived in the old saddle house with another younger calf in the same position to protect them from coyotes. He has since grown and rejoined the rest of the herd.

This image is particularly symbolic to me after a year of tremendous loss, including that of the owner of this calf, my grandfather, who ironically had been an orphan growing up during the Great Depression.

My sister, known on the web as Circe, who is the subject of this watercolor, is actually 28 although she looks much younger here with the odd angle and her childlike demeanor. The reference photo for this was taken just six weeks ago after that family tragedy. My extended family rallied around my grandmother at our family farm to help out.

The negative spaces were and are interesting to me...I always loved how Mary Cassatt created a very intimate environment for her subjects by making such lovely negative shapes (see La Toilette, 1891). I do feel that my photograph is better than my watercolor, but I am pretty satisfied with this as my first true watercolor portrait.

This was also my first painting on a block of 140-lb. Arches Cold Pressed paper, sketched and painted almost entirely upside-down to simplify shapes. I used a simplified palette of WN French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Umber, with hints of DS Quinacridone Coral and WN Permanent Rose to enhance the glow of the setting sun reflecting inside the shed onto white portions of the scene, such as the T-shirt and Buster's face.

EDIT: This piece is in the CCP Summer Art Show...check their link in my "Art Links" at left to see some interesting and wide ranging work!